United States
With joint Women's World Cup bid, U.S. is going all-in on celebrating sports
United States

With joint Women's World Cup bid, U.S. is going all-in on celebrating sports

Updated Aug. 24, 2023 3:31 p.m. ET

Any major global sports event, the kind that lasts for weeks and is beamed to every corner of the planet, is best described as a big, colorful, frenetic party.

If that’s the case, the United States could be about to become the life of the party — with a frequency that no nation has ever experienced before.

On Wednesday, U.S. Soccer and the Mexican Football Federation announced a joint bid to host the 2027 Women’s World Cup and instantly leapt to the top of the list of favorites to be chosen.

If the powers that be at governing body FIFA give USA/Mexico when the decision is made in May of next year, it would fill out a breathless period where the eyes of the sports world will be on the U.S. like never before.

The U.S. is already host of the men’s World Cup in 2026, staging around three-quarters of the games with the rest shared between Canada and Mexico. It will be the second time the men’s tournament has come to these shores, the previous being in 1994, which helped to transform the sport in this country and led to the formation of Major League Soccer.

In 2028, Los Angeles will host the Summer Olympics for the third time, bringing the Games back to the States for the first time since 1996.

It is going to be quite a ride. Buckle up.

In recent years, other countries have had some bursts of time when the eyes of the sports world descended upon them, perhaps the most notable of those was Brazil during the span from 2014 to 2016. The vibrant South American nation had never hosted an Olympics and had not staged the World Cup since 1950, but was picked to do both, just two years apart, with Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana Stadium staging both the soccer final (won by Germany) and the main Olympic festivities.

Russia held the Winter Olympics in Sochi in 2014 and soccer’s big show four years later. Meanwhile, if taken as an overall region rather than an individual country, the recent glut of major events held in the Middle East — including the Qatar World Cup, several Formula 1 Grands Prix per year and notable boxing and UFC heavyweight fights — has been a departure from the historic norm.

However, none of that can quite match what the U.S. would experience with a World Cup/Women’s World Cup/Olympics trifecta, one after the other, filling three straight holes in the typically quiet summer portion of the calendar.

Any World Cup, and any Olympics, is special. Yet there is something about being host and inviting the sports world to your own backyard that makes it truly unique. Many future national team players went to games in 1994 — winger Graham Zusi even took part in Opening Ceremony as a seven-year-old — and said the memory fueled their own soccer dreams in years to come.

2026 and 2028 are already locked in place. The Women’s World Cup will be decided by an ongoing process over the next year. The USA/Mexico bid looks to be the most powerful, but there are, as always with such things, no guarantees.

While the men’s World Cup has settled over time into a rhythm whereby many of soccer’s different global confederations will eventually get their chance — even though Europe has hosted far more frequently that every other continent — things have been a little more disjointed on the women’s side.

The USA has already hosted in 1991, 1999 (cue Brandi Chastain’s iconic celebration) and 2003 (when it moved from China), while Canada staged a fine tournament (won by the American women) in 2015. 

In some cases, especially for the Olympics, bidding cities extol the virtues of the Olympic legacy, pointing out how new developments and infrastructure put in place for the Games will benefit the region for decades into the future.

American bids most typically take the opposite tack, highlighting that all the infrastructure needed to put on an international extravaganza is already in place. Thanks, not solely but in large part, to the National Football League, this country is spoiled for choice when it comes to large stadiums and cities mechanisms that can comfortably accommodate the large crowds that fill them.

There is also the reality that in an era where the push to brings greater financial rewards to female players is real, present and correct, a World Cup in the North American market would be the most profitable option, and generate a bigger pie to share around.

The primary opposition appears to come from a European bid fronted by Germany and with matches also to be held in Belgium and the Netherlands. Brazil has interest, as does South Africa, and both those bids have some optimism because FIFA wants to expand the women’s game and neither South America nor Africa has held the women’s tournament.

However, there are numerous factors adding weight to the USA/Mexico effort, not least of which is the role the USWNT has played in evolves women’s soccer, having won the Women’s World Cup four times, including both of the last two renditions.

If it shakes down that way, you can forget about the "dog days" of the hottest month. For three straight summers, an absolute smorgasbord of sports would be coming this way.

Party on.

Martin Rogers is a columnist for FOX Sports and the author of the FOX Sports Insider newsletter. Follow him on Twitter @MRogersFOX and subscribe to the daily newsletter.


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